The San Francisco Giants went into the All-Star break with a 43-51 record, their worst mark at the break in five years.
On Friday, the second half of the season begins with a key series against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks went into the break with a 50-45 mark. If all of the NL West teams duplicate their first half performances, the Diamondbacks would win the division title with an 85-77 record.
But MoreSplashHits believes it will take at least 88 wins to take the division crown this year. That means the Giants would have to finish the season 45-23 over the final 68 games to reach that 88-win mark.
It’s a daunting task for a team eight games under .500. But not impossible.
It’s only four games better than how the Giants finished over their final 68 games in 2012, when they posted a 41-27 record.
But if the Giants hope to win 22 more games than they will lose over the last 2.5 months of the season, they need to start winning now.
Taking 3 of 4 from the Padres prior to the break is a start. It needs to keep going this weekend at home against the Diamondbacks. The Giants have won 6 of 9 vs. Arizona this year.
If the Giants take 2 of 3 from Arizona, they will be 5.5 games out of first place and still in the mix. If they lose 2 of 3, they will fall 7.5 games back and on the verge of being out of the mix.
If the Giants get swept by Arizona, they will fall 9.5 games and it might be time to start thinking about 2014.
However, if the Giants were to sweep Arizona, they’d be 3.5 games behind Arizona, and the race is on.
The Giants come out of the break with 10 consecutive games at AT&T Park (although they’ll be the “road” team in one of those games against the Reds as part of a makeup from a rained-out game in Cincinnati earlier this month).
Realistically, the Giants need to go at least 6-4 over those 10 games to stay viable in the NL West race. The goal should really be more like 7-3.
August’s schedule is brutal, with series against the Rays, Orioles, Red Sox, Nationals and Pirates. So the winning needs to start in July.